canstockphoto13133434 (1)by Ronnie Sands…

The first time I recall hearing of it was in the early ’80s when comic genius Richard Pryor set himself ablaze.
My first physical contact with this particular vampire occurred not long after that.
Since then I have smoked it with the lowest of the low, the people who eat out of dumpsters on a regular basis.
I have indulged myself with it in the company of a member of the family, which we in this country call American Royalty, and with the people who own the dumpsters.
It has brought me to my knees every time (in search of microscopic life).
It has encouraged me to propel pennies at windows at night in the hope that the occupants would rain dollars on me.
It has turned joyous audible conversations to deafening, cautious whispers in my wake.
It has labeled me a pariah in my family, whose museum is a showcase for the positive and inspirational deeds that have been accomplished by peoples denied.
It has shamed me and put to the test the unconditional love my mate has for me.
It has forced me to humble myself—to kowtow—even in the presence of those who deal in death’s trade when my funds are not correct.
It has subjected me to the whims of ill-trained, overzealous, and condescending law enforcement.
It has dumped me in a forum to be judged by individuals whose own feces are suspicious—individuals who mete out punishment that far exceeds my crime.
My God! They’ve taken away my right to vote—a right that as a child I unknowingly sat in for, marched for, held hands for, and sang hymns for when I accompanied my mother to Washington, DC, on numerous occasions—a right that as an adult I defended as a member of my country’s military, the United States Marines.
Inside it has left me crippled . . . broken . . . fractured . . . cracked.


300531_610395802305578_676276329_nPlease allow me to reintroduce myself I am Ronald Sands a Multi-generational conch. It is said that my people came over with the conquistadors, fact is my grand father the honorable Lofton B. Sands was Key West’s first master electrician and he wired this town. My father, the legendary Woodrow ‘Pop’ Sands, followed in his Father’s footsteps and not only became a master electrician but a master plumber as well. Sandwiched inbetween are numerous educators Theodor ‘Teddy’ Sands, Winnerford Sands and the seemly ubiquitous Roosevelt Sands. I myself am the Sands who invokes whispers when I walk by; rouge, barbarian, crack-head.

It is what it is and I am what I am. I once found myself in Mark Jones court room for sentencing-crimes against myself-cocaine possession. I did not have the commandant of the marine corps, nor did I have Adam Clayton Lopez Powell to speak on my behalf. I had only my lowly wife and her humble sponsor. They both brought tears to my eyes when they stressed my good points to Jones. I found myself pleading for mercy. Well let me tell you, Markie-Mark nearly jumped out of his judge costume and declared “It would be merciful to send you to prison” which he eventually did.

I was housed with thieves, dispensers of bloody mayhem and murderers. Upon completion of my eighteen months in prison I felt a sence of payment in full, hell! I felt as if I over paid. I did not have the luxury of the ‘go-in out of business- everything must go- reduced price of justise Randy Acevedo had. M.J. said of Mr Acevedo, ‘he has fallen from grace and he has a family at home.’ In my case Jones must have come to the conclusion that I’d tripped on the sidewalk at the summit of Solares Hill, and all that I had at my own residence was a tortellini.

Those that know of my plight and the plight of so many like me, have screamed “double standard!” I beg to differ, IT IS SELECTIVE JUSTUS!!!

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2 thoughts on “Crack(ed)

  1. Great article, Ron! Very entertaining and insightful- recommended reading!

    Maybe if you were a Mason like Randy (and probably the judge), there would have been no charges and no jail time? They look out for each other and they are in all the powerful positions here. A visiting Mason rattled off a list of names you regularly see in the papers as people he just met at the lodge. Randy was one. You just ain’t in the club, son.

  2. Thanks for the article Ron, having refereed high school basketbal for more than 20 years in Key West, I know much of your family and much of the black conch community in general. I’d like to relate a true story that I must be careful with because it implicates some of KW’s most influential people. This happened about 20 years ago. I knew a beautiful young lady at the time who liked to hang out with the upper stratas of KW society. She was found dead one night in one of the properties of one of these “big shots”. Apparently, she died of an overdose of cocaine. A friend of mine told me at the time to watch and see how nothing comes of this, how it wouldn’t hit the newspapers, etc. The property in question was near a place I hung out at, and sure enough, there was never any kind of obvious police activity, nor did it ever become a big story. An obituary did appear, but not much else. So Ron, do you think you’d have been treated like that?

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